In the United States, each state has different statutes when it comes to separation and divorce. Michigan is no different in that aspect. During such a trying time, knowing how to go about following policy and procedure reduces the stress that the life-change may cause.
- Separate Maintenance is what the initial process has become law in Michigan. This motion of separation stems from partners that no longer live together and are beyond repair.
- One or both persons file a Petition for Separate Maintenance at their District Court Clerk's office. This process requires fees and proof of marriage and residency. After this filing, a certified process server will provide the summons to all parties involved.
- When filing for Separation Maintenance, the couple is asking the court's assistance in divvying up shared property, child support, and the equalizing of debt between the two parties without terminating the marriage.
- Michigan's legal separation also takes into account the inability to end a marriage due to religious and tax reasons while still providing fair shares between the parties involved.
- Child support, as well as custody, is decided by the judge in the court the Separation Maintenance becomes record. The jurisdiction will consider what is best for all parties involved, putting the child's health and well-being first and foremost.
- Either a judge rules or a separation agreement is signed by both partners, which is an agreeance of property, debt, and issues regarding shared children. This complex and detailed document is dependent upon the specific marriage. Some couples choose an attorney while others fill it out themselves.
- Legal separation using Separation Maintenance also disallows either party to remarry. If either wishes to pursue divorce proceedings, it must begin through a different route and will null and void the judge's decisions based on the Maintenance ruling.